Meet the Twilio Japan hackathon winners: 3 great ideas using the cloud telephony API



See the original story in Japanese.

As we reported previously, KDDI Web Communications has just announced the official launch of telephony API service Twilio in Japan. The tie-up will give users easier access to low-latency services and additional features which may fit local market needs.

Here’s brief introduction of the three standout ideas that won prizes at Twilio’s hackathon event on launch day.

Anpiru: a safety confirmation system for use in emergencies

(Top prize and AWS Architect award winner: Takeshi Ambiru)

The Anbiru system lets you to confirm the safety of your friends or family members in the event of a natural disaster or crisis. The service uses data from Japan’s Meteorological Agency and will start calling your people via Twilio. When they receive the call, they can indicate their safety by sending touch-tone signals.

In contrast to conventional e-mail services, this might be easier for less tech savvy people such as elderly folks or children. Potential users are local governments, schools, and big companies.


Guide Call: An easy, on-demand interpreter service for travelers

(Award winner: Daisuke Ito)

Japanese people often run into trouble when speaking foreign languages. When you’re traveling, Guide Call helps you find an available interpreter using a crowdsourcing platform. By using the speaker phone feature on your mobile phone, you can have an interpreter join your conversation.

They expect to apply a per-minute charge system, and will consider selling it in partnership with travel agencies.

Annai Call: Easy-to-deploy multilingual hotline service for hotels and inns

(Winner of the Microsoft award: Kyoko Otagaki)

This service targets hotel management or inn owners, letting them present a designated phone number on your website to receive inquires or reservations from foreign language speakers. Any calls to the number will be transfered to an interpreter available on a crowdsoucing platform.

In the US, Twilio is being used by Uber, Airbnb and Hulu for customer support services. It will be really interesting to see what kinds of services will come out with the new telephony solution here in Japan.